By Leanne Beane
Who are the Bellbrook Marching Eagles & Color Guard?
The Bellbrook Marching Eagles & Color Guard are a group of athletes who use musical and visual elements to create a 5-10 minute performance for entertainment and competition. This year, their show was titled “Out of the Blue” and included musical selections “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, “Blue Rondo à la Turk” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Blue Shades” by Frank Ticheli, and “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65. They performed at football games, competitions, and assorted community events including the Lions Club Parade.
During the summer, there were several clinics, camps, and icebreakers for individuals to meet one another and learn how to handle their individual equipment. Early in May, there was a clinic for interested individuals to test percussion instruments and see which ones they preferred. On May 19, there was a full-ensemble icebreaker for the “rookies” to meet the previous year’s performers. A few days later, the senior marchers hosted a short camp to teach the rookies the basics of marching. During June-July, there were guard and percussion camps with the same intent. Next was the most difficult portion of the season: band camp. Twelve-hour days, nie of those in rehearsal, too much caffeine, not enough sleep, and way, way too many sunburns. Winds and percussion participated in a four-day pre-camp the week before the actual camp, which occurred July 19-24. On July 24, there was a performance to showcase the skills the athletes had developed during their five-day boot camp and the rookies officially became performers. On August 12, there was a second performance to begin the competition season.
The marching band & color guard participated in numerous community events. The first event of the season was the teachers’ first day in school for the 2021-2022 school year. To begin the August 16 meeting, the band performed Bellbrook’s fight song, the alma mater, and the Star Spangled Banner. A volunteer car wash was scheduled, but it was cancelled due to weather conditions.
The second large fundraiser is Tag Day, a two-day event where the athletes go door-to-door and request donations for the group. It raises more money than the car wash, with around $4,000 being pulled in annually. The final side gig of the band, occurring in late August, is the Lions Club Parade and the accompanying volunteer shifts. Aside from being a part of the parade, where the performers alternate between playing Bellbrook’s fight song and the drumline’s cadence, they also volunteer at event booths throughout the Lions Club Festival.
Football Games + Senior Night
The band attended eight out of the ten football games and at least three of the playoffs throughout their season. The group will continue to perform at games until the end of the football season. Additionally, they attended the football pep rally on July 17 and the October 6 Powder Puff game. For pregame, the band & color guard march onto the field and perform the fight song, the alma mater, and the Star Spangled Banner. They then form a tunnel and play the fight song a second time as the football players pass through. During the first, second, and fourth quarters, they perform a variety of pep songs, including the Darth Vader theme song, “Sweet Caroline,” and “Seven Nation Army,” as well as performing the fight song with every touchdown. At halftime, both Bellbrook and the opposing team perform either the entirety or a part of their competition show, with Bellbrook ending their performance with the fight song.
For senior night, the marching band and color guard seniors were decorated with purple-and-gold boutonnieres on their left chest and were celebrated on banners hung in front of the band bleachers.
For competitions, bands are sorted into five classes depending on the size of their school: 5A (largest), 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A (smallest). The Bellbrook Marching Eagles & Color Guard are placed in 3A and have been very successful, not only within that category but overall. During competitions, two categories of awards are provided at both class and overall levels: place awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and show-related awards, such as Best Auxiliary, Best Percussion, Best Music, Best Visual, and Best General Effect. The Bellbrook Eagles were awarded 6th place in their class and 15th place overall at BOA Dayton Competition on September 18, 7th place in their class and 10th place overall at BOA Obetz Competition on September 25, 1st place in their class and 1st place overall at MSBA Miamisburg Competition on October 23, and 1st place in their class and 4th place overall at MSBA Miamisburg Competition on October 30. They also performed at MSBA Bellbrook Clinic on October 2, which was not scored, and were scheduled to perform at MSBA Northmont Premiere on September 4, which was unfortunately cancelled. Additionally, they earned nine show-related awards.
The group would not have been able to function without the support of the staff and volunteers. This season, there were 10+ staff members, 15+ Pit Dads (individuals who handle the percussion equipment) and 6+ Band/Guard Moms (individuals who carry medical supplies, food, water, etc. and aid with uniforms).
Closing the Season
On November 3, the performers participated in a Send Off Ceremony for the seniors. The ceremony opened with a buffet-style dinner followed by a review of previous shows, including 2017 Slow and Steady, 2018 Arhythmetic, 2019 The Other Side, 2020 Out of the Blue, and their current show 2021 Out of the Blue. After the dinner had concluded, several seniors gave speeches (and several cried). The final event was the true send-off ceremony. Every performer was provided a candle and lined up in a large circle. The lights were turned off and each senior’s candle was lit. The seniors then used their candles to light the candles of the other performers, “passing the flame of knowledge” to the younger generations. After Mrs. Siler performed a short speech, the candles were simultaneously extinguished.
The following day, the Bellbrook Marching Eagles & Color Guard completed a command performance, reminiscent of the one at the beginning of the season, though far improved. There was a large turnout, with the stands filled with parents, relatives, friends, and previous band and color guard members.
November 6 was an important day for the performers: it was their final competition of the season and the last chance they had to perform the show they had dedicated 400+ hours to. As there were too many bands competing to compare simultaneously, the awards were limited to class awards rather than overall. The Bellbrook Eagles placed 2nd out of 12 bands. It was a successful end to the season.